The City of Williams has tapped Randy Ulibarri to serve as the interim Chief of Police, following the resignation of former chief John Osbourn last month.
Ulibarri, 64, began working at the department on Monday and will serve until the city finds a permanent police chief. City Administrator Frank Kennedy said that a permanent replacement should be in place within the next six months.
For now, Kennedy said, the department is in good hands.
“(Ulibarri) comes highly regarded. He spent 30 years with the Union City Police Department, and has served as an interim chief in three different departments since his retirement,” Kennedy said.
Ulibarri worked at the Union City Police Department from 1976 to 2006, and was the chief for the last six years of his tenure there.
Since then, Ulibarri has served as the interim chief in the cities of Newman (2007-2008), Folsom (2010-2011), and Vacaville (2013-2014).
A self-described outdoorsman and golf-addict, Ulibarri has enjoyed stints of retirement-living between those interim roles. He and his wife of 43 years – his high school sweetheart and fellow outdoors enthusiast/golf-addict – have done their fair share of traveling.
“We have a motorhome and have traveled throughout the state and outside of it. We incorporate golf throughout our outings,” Ulibarri said.
The two have three grown sons, three “fantastic” daughters-in-law, and four grandkids.
Ultimately, Ulibarri continues to take up roles as an interim chief to give back to the profession he loves.
“Here’s the way I look at it: Law enforcement has been good to me and my family. This is a way I can give back to law enforcement. If I can come in and help out a department and a community as they transition, I feel like I can give back to this profession that I love,” Ulibarri said. “It’s tough to leave the profession because we give so much of ourselves to it – and that makes it easy to come back.”
At least one city council member is elated with the decision to bring Ulibarri on.
“I’m really grateful that he’s available: Just what we need,” Mayor John Troughton said of the new hire.
Kennedy said that Ulibarri won’t be in the office every day, but will work 3-4 days a week. He will help in the process of finding and hiring a permanent chief, Kennedy said.
On Monday, Ulibarri defined the goals he has set for his tenure as the interim chief.
“It’s real simple: Whenever there is a change in leadership, there is always what I call organizational anxiety. Everyone knows where they stood with the previous chief, and they don’t know where they will stand with the new one,” Ulibarri said.
His job is to alleviate some of that anxiety and “set the table” for a seamless transition to the new, permanent chief.
“I really want to set the table for the new chief – to get done what we need to do for the new chief… so that they don’t have to come in and deal with some of these issues.”
The process of “setting the table” for the Williams Police Department’s next chief will include filling out a staff that is currently operating at half-strength. At full manpower, the department has ten officers. Currently, they are operating with five. Ulibarri said he is already working to fill some of those positions.
“We have a list with several names – an active list. We will start going through those individuals and doing our hiring process, starting with oral interviews,” Ulibarri said. “If we need to do further recruitments, we will. My goal is that when I leave here in six months, we will have those positions filled, or we will be in backgrounds for those positions. It’s going to be a very aggressive process, but I think that with everyone in the department on board, we can get it accomplished.”
The department will be looking at all of its potential options in filling those positions, including academy graduates, individuals currently in the academy, entry level candidates, and laterals.
“It’s a multi-faceted approach. We want to be as inclusive as possible so we can bring in the best possible candidates to this department,” Ulibarri said. “If there is anyone out there that has had any interest in becoming a police officer for the city of Williams, please get in touch with me.”